The first reading for this coming Sunday

There is some – on the face of it – strange wording in the reading from Isisah that is the first reading at Sunday’s Mass.

Come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without price.

Why come buy?

Why not just ‘Come, take – here you are – have what you want’?

The passage goes on to speak of spending our money, exerting our labour.

And it seems clear that despite the generosity of the Lord, what we are invited to is not a free for all.

Think of the annual news pictures of crowds tussling over bargains on Black Friday or Christmas Sales. The Lord does invite us to something so chaotic and appealing to our selfishness and greed.

If we are to eat of this food, drink of this drink, we need to listen diligently and then, only, then eat what is good.

We hear this reading on Sunday in preparation for hearing the Gospel of the feeding of the 5000. Those people had listened diligently, they had been prepared for a meal, and they partook of it, surely, hopefully gratefully.

Sometimes people take divine food in a way calculated to lead to indigestion and dyspepsia – instead of helping them to satisfaction the divine food leads to discomfort and pain.

  • Have you experienced the consequences of listening without diligence?
  • What helps you to listen better?
  • Where can you point to the fruits being well-prepared for divine eating and drinking? Give thanks to the Lord for those times.

First reading for 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time: Isaiah 55:1-3

(NB the text set for Sunday is given below in bold and in ‘quote sections’ below; the rest is the immediate biblical text from which the Lectionary text is extracted)

The Compassion of the Lord

55.1 “Come, everyone who thirsts,
come to the waters;
and he who has no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without price.
2  Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
and your labour for that which does not satisfy?
Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good,
and delight yourselves in rich food.
3  Incline your ear, and come to me;
hear, that your soul may live;
and I will make with you an everlasting covenant,
my steadfast, sure love for David.
4  Behold, I made him a witness to the peoples,
a leader and commander for the peoples.
5  Behold, you shall call a nation that you do not know,
and a nation that did not know you shall run to you,
because of the LORD your God, and of the Holy One of Israel,
for he has glorified you.

~ Translation of Scriptures: English Standard Version (c) 2001-9, Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
~ Commentary: (c) 2020, Allen Morris
~ Photo: Isaiah. French Church, Leicester Square, London (c) 2007, Allen Morris.


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